Saskatchewan is growing
Hot water turns to frozen vapour before it hits the ground and wet laundry will go as stiff as cardboard within a few minutes, does that help you describe how cold it is?
It's always a bit of a shock to step outside into minus 30 degree Celsius wind chills, but imagine what it's like when you've never been through a prairie winter until now.
Eldon Irvine teaches English to newcomers at the Regina Open Door Society. He says for people who arrive in Saskatchewan from much warmer countries, it’s really difficult to prepare them for how cold it actually gets here.
Construction is just beginning on another condo project in Regina, but this one is targeted toward first-time home buyers.
Rosemont Court is a new $17.4 million dollar development in the northwest end of the city. Thirteen million of that is coming from the provincial government through its HeadStart on a Home program.
And because of that program, the 78 units in the condo project will be priced at or below the market rate when they're finished. It's to allow first-time buyers to get into the market easier.
Imagine catching direct flights from Regina to Germany, it sounds like a day dream but it could be possible. In fact a new grant from the federal government is the next step forward to towards that goal.
Regina and Saskatoon's airports have been working together to try and get people in Saskatchewan flying direct to more places, and to bring more tourists here.
The federal government is kicking in $300,000 to continue efforts to attract big companies to provide these services.
So what does that mean for travellers?
The CP rail yards are still there but this weekend the containers officially moved west and out of downtown Regina.
On Monday Canadian Pacific Railway officially opened a 300 acre intermodal rail and truck shipping facility at the Global Transportation Hub to the west of Regina.
Ed Greenberg with CP Rail says the new site can handle up to 250,000 containers a year compared to 47,000 at the old location.
Those who travel frequently to the United States will now have an easier time in line at the Regina International Airport.
“Nexus members in Regina will have a dedicated entrance that will allow them to proceed directly to the front of the screening lane in order to proceed faster through to security services,” announced Federal Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher Thursday.
This is expected to cut wait times for travellers.
If you have a house or condo in Regina, it’s apparently a good time to sell.
A new Royal Lepage Fourth Quarter 2012 House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast issued Tuesday. The document showed substantial, year-over-year price growth.
For example, a standard two-story home rose 16.8 per cent to $382,500. That was the largest jump in the country, with the national average being four per cent. Detached bungalows increased 5.3 per cent to $333,330 while standard condominiums gained 5.9 per cent to an average price of $210,750.
The outskirts of Regina are nothing like what they used to be with developments like Harbour Landing filling up a lot faster than expected.
Work started on the big west end development in 2007 and at that point Dundee Developments expected it would take until 2025 to finish. Then the booming market put builders into overdrive.
“They probably will be built out somewhere in 2015 to 2016, so it’s moved significantly faster,” commented Stu Niebergall, president of the the Regina Regional Home Builders Association.
The food bank did well during the giving season, but now that it's over they're hoping that giving feeling doesn't leave people in Regina.
Steve Compton, Regina Food Bank CEO, said their 12 days of Christmas campaign wasn't going too well in the first half, so then they made some pleas to the community.
"So as a result of that message the very generous city came through and we find ourselves pretty full right now."
Call it another strong year for Regina in terms of the number and value of building permits issued.
In fact, it was a record.
In 2012, there were 3,342 permits issued worth $773,272,570. That’s about 600 more permits than 2011, and worth about $225,000,000 more.
A big part of the increase came in the residential sector.
“We have a lot of major projects happening downtown, we have condominiums downtown, we have new growth especially in housing. We have lots of new people moving to our province,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.
If they had to predict what’s in store for 2013, Saskatchewan small businesses believe it's going to be a good year.
A new barometer from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that our small businesses are the second most optimistic in the country. But Marlyn Braun-Pollon with the CFIB points out that success does come with challenges.
“Skilled labour is one of them – you know how do we attract and retain qualified labour,” she said.
Braun-Pollon adds that business owners are also tired of property tax hikes.